Tributes and condolences were pouring in after learning of the untimely death of “Marvelous” Marvin Hagler, the legendary boxer who died on Saturday at the age of 66. Hagler’s wife said in a Facebook post that he “passed away unexpectedly at his home” in New Hampshire but did not disclose the cause of his death.
While Hagler left his mark on the world at large, the boxing community, in particular, was mourning his death while also celebrating by recognizing all of his amazing accomplishments during his legendary life and career that spanned 14 impressive years.
In that time period, Hagler, a middleweight, lost just two times and scored 53 knockouts and amassing 62 wins.
But even if you were unfamiliar with the fine-tunings of boxing, chances are you knew who Hagler was, what with his signature bald head and unmatched bravado that was more times than not backed up and then some in the ring and in popular culture at large.
Hagler took part in some of the sport’s most iconic matches of all time, including his fights against fellow boxing legends Roberto Duran, Sugar Ray Leonard and Tommy “Hit Man” Hearns, the latter of which is considered the “Marvelous” one’s greatest performance in the ring.
Hagler beat Hearns by TKO in the third round of their legendary fight in 1985.
After the match, Hagler described his motivation: “Tommy’s a good fighter, but he’s cocky. I had something for him.”
Born in Newark, New Jersey, in 1954 before going on to grow up in Brockton, Massachusetts, Hagler ultimately became a sports legend in Boston, not an easy task considering the significant athletic history in that city.
Hagler went pro at the age of 18 after winning the national Amateur Athletic Union tournament in the 165-pound class and spent most of the 1970s working his way up until he got a shot at the belt in 1980 when he became middleweight champion after beating then-champion Alan Minter. It took just seven minutes and 45 seconds for Hagler to turn Minter’s face into “a mess” with “blood streaming,” the Guardian recalled.
But that fight in London has also been remembered as “one of boxing’s lowest moments” since the British fans didn’t take kindly to a Black man beating up a white man.
Regardless of the racism, that championship moment paved the way for Hagler to go on to defend his title 12 times before he famously lost to Leonard in a split decision in 1987.
Hagler announced his retirement from boxing the following year but remained a celebrated figure in the sport, culminating in his induction into the Boxing Hall of Fame in 1993.
Keep reading to find some of the most iconic images of Hagler during his legendary career.
1. Hagler-Seales Middleweight FightSource:Getty
Top ranked middleweight contender Marvin Hagler sends Sugar Ray Seales to the canvas for the third time winning the fight 80 seconds into the 1st round at Boston Garden in 1974.
2. Hagler Vs. Obelmejias At Boston GardenSource:Getty
Marvin Hagler knocks down opponent Fulgencio Obelmejias during the sixth round of a match at the Boston Garden in Boston on Jan. 17, 1981. Hagler won the match against Obelmejias in the eighth round.
3. ‘Marvelous’ Marvin Hagler And William ‘Caveman’ Lee Boxing At Bally’s Park PlaceSource:Getty
Hagler leaves William ‘Caveman’ Lee on the canvas during their fight at Bally’s Park Place in Atlantic City on March 7, 1982.
4. Ring Magazine Cover – Marvin HaglerSource:Getty
Marvin Hagler on the cover of Ring Magazine in 1981.
5. Marvin Hagler v Fulgencio ObelmejiasSource:Getty
Hagler celebrates after beating Fulgencio Obelmejias at Boston Garden on January 17, 1981, in Boston. Hagler won the WBC middleweight title and the WBA World middleweight title.
6. Marvelous Marvin HaglerSource:Getty
Hagler out training in Provincetown, Massachusetts, in 1981.
7. Marvin Hagler Receives Key to the CitySource:Getty
Marvin Hagler, boxing’s new middleweight champion, shows his then-wife Bertha the ‘key to the city’ of his hometown, Brockton, Massachusetts, in 1980.
8. Marvin Hagler v Alan MinterSource:Getty
Hagler raises his arms in victory after beating Alan Minter at Wembley Arena in London on Sept. 27, 1980. He won the WBC middleweight title and WBA World middleweight title by a TKO.
9. Marvin HaglerSource:Getty
Hagler holds up his World Championship WBA WBC middleweight title belt.
10. Hagler WinsSource:Getty
Hagler is shown rejoicing after his fight against Alan Minter was stopped in the third round.
11. Marvelous MarvinSource:Getty
Then-New England and National 1973 AAU middleweight champion Marvin Hagler sharpens the reflexes while training in 1973.
12. Marvin Hagler v Wilford ScypionSource:Getty
Hagler walks to his corner after knocking out Wilford Scypion during their fight at the Civic Center in Providence, Rhode Island, on May 27, 1983. Hagler won the IBF middleweight title by a KO in the 4th round.
13. Hagler vs Roberto DuránSource:Getty
Roberto Durán boxes ‘Marvelous’ Marvin Hagler at Caesars Palace on Nov. 10, 1983. Hagler won a unanimous 15-round decision.
14. Marvin Hagler v Juan Domingo RoldanSource:Getty
Hagler looks on as Juan Domingo Roldan sits on the canvas after being knocked down during the fight at Riviera Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas on March 30, 1984. He won the WBC middleweight title, WBA World middleweight title and the IBF middleweight title.
15. Marvin Hagler v Mustafa HamshoSource:Getty
Hagler moves in the ring after knocking out Mustafa Hamsho during the fight at Madison Square Garden in New York City on Oct. 19, 1984.
16. Thomas Hearns and Marvin HaglerSource:Getty
Thomas “Hit Man” Hearns and Marvin Hagler pose for a photo promoting their fight in 1985.
17. Thomas Hearns Vs. Marvin HaglerSource:Getty
A referee rushes to make a call after Hagler knocked down Hearnsduring their fight at Caesars Palace in Paradise, Nevada, on April 15, 1985.
18. John Mugabi v Marvin HaglerSource:Getty
Hagler lands a blow to the head of John Mugabi during the Middleweight WBC/WBA/IBF title fight on March 10, 1986, at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. Hagler won the fight by KO in the 11th round.
19. Saturday Night LiveSource:Getty
Robert Smigel as a reporter, Robert Downey Jr. as weigher and Marvelous Marvin Hagler during the ‘Mike “The Menace” Hall ‘ skit on May 17, 1986.
20. Marvin Hagler and Sugar Ray Leonard Press ConferenceSource:Getty
Hagler and Sugar Ray Leonard pose during a press conference to promote their fight in 1986.
21. Sugar Ray Leonard and Marvin HaglerSource:Getty
A general view of the ring outside during the fight between Sugar Ray Leonard and Marvin Hagler on April 6, 1987.
22. Hagler vs. LeonardSource:Getty
Sugar Ray Leonard battles Marvin Hagler during a middleweight bout at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas on April 6, 1987. Leonard won the fight in a 12 round decision.
23. Nelson Mandela Joking with Boxer Marvin HaglerSource:Getty
President Nelson Mandela pretends to spar with boxer Marvin Hagler at home in Cape Town in 1997.
24. The Champ Is HereSource:Getty
Marvin Hagler on the cover of Ring Magazine in 1980.
25. Nevada Boxing Hall Of Fame Induction GalaSource:Getty
Hagler waves to the audience as he is inducted during the third annual Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame induction gala at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas on Aug. 8, 2015.